I started out just like many of us: playing the fake money games online. One afternoon, I logged into my account to discover a real money balance of $5.00. With all the negative stigma society generally attaches to online gambling, I figured I probably would never put in a deposit with my own money, and this was a chance to see if I could make a few bucks and have some fun. I even played fake money limit hold’em for a couple weeks until I was beating it consistently so I could make the most out of my 5 bucks.
In December 2004 I jumped into the smallest game on the site: 10c/20c limit hold’em. With a lot of luck (and some help from the very loose games), I managed to slowly run my ‘bankroll’ into about $50, at which point I started playing $3 sit’n’go’s, which eventually became $7 and $10 sit’n’gos, and then $1/$2 limit. I was spending a lot of time reading strategy websites, most notably reading the limit hold’em articles (referenced at bottom). At this point (July 2005), my bankroll had reached about $600. I began to read a lot more about bonuses and rakeback, which are absolutely ESSENTIAL to any limit player, as I will outline below.
I began to forgo strategy in favour of hunting down the most lucrative bonuses. I was obsessed with the notion of ‘free money’ via bonuses, and my game (and bottom line) suffered as a result. I struggled playing tough $1/$2 and $2/$4 games at various sites, although I did slowly increase my bankroll. Eventually, I got sick of playing breaking even poker to earn bonus bucks, and I realized that I would never move beyond the small stakes games if I was putting ‘bonus whoring’ before improving my game, so I made a drastic change: I put bonus whoring behind me, and I took my $2,000 bankroll to the Party $3/$6 6max games, which were definitely a lot softer than the Absolute $1/$2 grind.